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'Ethiopian tenants? Out of the question'
Real estate agent trying to find apartment in Ashkelon for new immigrants shocked to discover building has policy of not selling flats to Ethiopians, 'because it drops the apartments' value.' Deputy mayor: Unfortunately, I've encountered this problem many times.
By Shmulik Hadad
Ugly racism in Ashkelon: R., a real estate agent from Ashkelon, arrived at a building in one of the southern city's neighborhoods recently with a couple of new immigrants, and was shocked to discover that the place has a policy of not selling apartments to Ethiopians.
A thorough investigation revealed that this policy is shared by all of the building's tenants, and perhaps the residents of additional buildings in the area as well – most of them of Russian descent.
In a conversation the real estate agent had with A., the owner of one of the building's apartments, A. asked about the potential buyers. When he heard that they were Ethiopian immigrants, he replied, "Out of the question… This is unacceptable in my apartment.
"Excuse me, but there are no Ethiopians in this area at all, and there won't be any. This is our policy. I have no problem with them living somewhere else… Anyone can come, but not Ethiopians. This is how it is in the entire building, at least I hope it is, in order to preserve the apartment's value and the building's value."
In another conversation, A. repeated his stance, adding, "We’ve kept this rule of not selling to Ethiopians for 16 years. I can't speak for the entire house, but this is how I feel… It immediately drops the apartment's value… Although I'll be leaving the building, their apartments drop 30% in value… I'm no expert in the details, but the price goes down if Ethiopians come.
"I don’t care who lives here, I'm not racist. But when I leave the building where I have lived for the past 16 years, the rest of the tenants will look at me as a traitor because I sold to Ethiopians. I don’t want to ruin my relations with my friends."
A. went on to explain, "It just happened that there are no Ethiopians in the houses around us. A quarter of the apartments have been sold in our building. There are no Ethiopians at all, and almost everyone is Russian.... It's not a written rule, but there is such a decision that it drops the apartment's value.
"This isn't a racist issue, this is reality, which proves that it drops the apartments' prices. Why? That question should be directed to those who don’t want to pay. It's not my call, it's the fact on the ground. People call me at the apartment and they almost always ask, 'Do you have Ethiopians in the building?' It matters to some people, that's all."
The apartment was eventually sold to a couple of new immigrants from Russia.
'No Ethiopians here'
Another resident in the building, who only identified herself as Irena, also clarified that "we have no Ethiopians in this building". Pointing at the eastern end of the neighborhood, she added, "There are Ethiopians down there. We don’t have any. I don’t know who I'll sell my house to, but I won't sell it to Ethiopians. It's our building, we're all friends here, we grew up together, and each person wants to live next to the people he knows."
"And you don’t know the Ethiopians?" she was asked. "No, I don’t know them, and I don’t think I want to get to know them," she replied and hurried home.
Ashkelon's Deputy Mayor Avi Vaaknin, who has previously been in charge of the city's welfare department and has dealt with issues concerting the Ethiopian community, said in response the he is familiar with this phenomenon.
"Unfortunately, we have encountered this phenomenon many times, and each time I was shocked because one expects such phenomena to disappear in this era. But each time you hear about it you think it's a one-time incident. Unfortunately, this phenomenon exists, and it's good that it has been exposed in its full ugliness, because raising this issue will only help fight such ugly phenomenon," he noted.
Former Council Member Shlomo Blai, head of the Ethiopian community in Ashkelon, was shocked to hear about the story. He said he had heard about the phenomenon in the distant past, "but I couldn’t believe such things still exist in Ashkelon. It's shocking, outrageous, and simply awful. I talk about it and I'm all shaking with anger.
"It's unthinkable that such things happen in 2009. Each time I hear about such racist things I ask myself what sin have we committed. Is a person's skin color enough to cause people to treat other people like this? They are not criminals or bad people, but rather people like you and me. I won't keep silent over this issue."
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Amen Ebalalewu,,, Very good decition, because the ethiopian Jewsh are not real jewush and they do not act like Human being,, i wish on all over Israel to house for Ethiopian Jewsh
they are not good people specaily from Gonder
God bless Ethiopia
Egna Israel Yemegegne Ethiopiaweyan nene,,ke Gonder yemetu Felashoche Eyasekayun new, haimanot yelachewum
Bete Israelawiyan yebalalu enjii, ye fake new ayedlum betam kefuwoche ena yaleseletenu nachewu
God bless Israel and Ethiopia
[DAVID, I see you are posting from an IP address that resolves to Israel as you said in your comment, can you shade more light on this story. ]
That is pure racism. That is why they are burning alive. I would rather be dead in my home country than living in that nasty coutry of theirs!
i have a question here, why did these people(journalists) call the ethio-Israelis Ethiopians? if i ma not mistaken, they went there because they say that, we are Israelis. so why did they have to be still called Ethiopians.
That’s what you get for betraying your motherland.
well, well I have said it once and I will say it again, you can never trust these fakes Jews, all they want is the man power of the Ethiopians, to be soldiers and clean the cities,
I say come back my Ethiopian brothers
Come back home and lets build a country which all of us can call home, and leave the fake Jews to deal with the arabs by themselves!
I think all Felashas should return home to Etiopia where they belong than living with such stupid people.
Yobelachew! Arfew agerachew mekemet neberebachew.
Go back to your beloved Ethiopia. You do not belong to Israel you are a proud Ethiopian and Ethiopia is recovering economically and can accommodate all of us.
My brothers and sisters in ISRAEL, you have started your journey after centuries. You are in the promise land but it will never be easy for you. You have to stay strong fight for your right like African Americans. We have a black president in America now.(African decent). We will have A black Jew president in Israel soon. Forgive the Russians, they are not civilized socially. They have lost their human values during the long communist era.
God is with you.
A brother from Ethiopia.
David may be one of the Eritrean refugee wannabes in Israel. Where ever these people go, they show their hatred and contempt for Ethiopians. It is chilling.
It is very sad that any Ethiopian of any background faces such discrimination. I hope Ethiopia becomes rich soon and becomes a destination rather than a point of departure.
the russians jews are at the bottom of the food chain in israel and looked down by the rest of the jews. its no surprise that they are looking down on the poor and recently immigrated ethiopians.
but the ethiopians need to fight them and show them their place not turn back.
i hope to see ethiopia rule the world
GOD BLESS OUR GREAT COUNTRY
Even though I don’t condone racism in any shape or form, I feel the so called “Ethiopian Jew” are definitely out of place. They don’t belong there. To me, they are Ethiopians may be with different religion (Jew) and need to go back to their homeland Gondar. As they had/have been coexisting with their other Ethiopian brothers and sisters, still Ethiopia is their natural home and they will be welcomed back . All we are seeing is pure racism and all this is because of economic issues. What everyone needs to question him/herself is that: Do you think these people would migrate to Israel if the economic situation in Ethiopia was much better and the envy of others? My answer, is no! if that was the case they wouldn’t resort to migrate they would have been happily living in their original place in Gondar. I am sure few still go to israel but the majority would be happy to stay home practicing their religion with no problem. So, people I don’t see those people will get the respect and so called “Jew” status in Israel at all. They are going to go through all kind of problems. Israel has been using those people as buffer to fill the areas between the arabs and the so called real jews. So, people wake up and realize your real home is the beautiful Ethiopia where you will be naturally respected and cared of. I know, right now Ethiopia is relatively poor country but don’t leave your natural place for foreign handouts, remember Ethiopia is growing fast and it will not be long when all its people prosperous. So, brothers and sisters come back home build and develop your area that is your homeland.
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